“I think she’s dead.”
“She’s not dead. Stop being so dramatic.”
“Dramatic? Dramatic?! Harold’s missing, Eden is out cold, we just fell through our attic doorway into some weird ass glowing forest and you think I’m being dramatic?“
Man, these two just don’t shut up, do they?
I had just met them, but from the looks of it, probably not. Diana, definitely not. Despite their bickering, I was content to just lie still with my eyes closed. There was a deep throbbing in the back of my head, as if I had stood up too fast, and I needed it to go away before even thinking about doing anything else.
“We just need to figure out where we are and then we can try to get home. I’m not sure what happened but-“
“Figure out where we are? Look around you, Pat. There are golden trees larger than most buildings, it’s relatively warm despite the five suns in the sky, and I’m pretty sure I saw a bat-dog-thing fly past a few minutes ago. Not to be cliché, but we’re not in effing Kansas anymore.”
Ok, headache or not, there was only so much of this I could put up with. I sat up and immediately regretted it as a wave of nausea rolled over me.
“Eden!” Patrick bent over at my side to hold me up.
Don’t throw up on Patrick. Don’t throw up on Patrick. Don’t throw up on-
I threw up on Patrick.
We were sitting in a small clearing of rocks as Patrick tried washing his polo in a nearby stream.
“So let me get this straight,” I said. “You ran after me through the door and when you went to find it again…no door.
Diana nodded. “Well, technically, I ran after Patrick, who ran after you. But yeah.”
We had found out about the door, or lack of, soon after I lost my lunch. As Patrick was helping me lay back down, Diana had gone off to try to get help back home. It was only when she came running back in a panic that the true reality of what had happened settled in. We had tried searching for some way out of the forest, but we were greeted with row after row of shiny, glittering trees and dirt, as if we were just walking in circles. (And for those of you thinking to yourself, “They probably were just walking in circles,” I was Girl Scout for two years so I know what I’m doing. And no, it was not my idea to join).
“You couldn’t have tied a rope or something to yourself before going in?” I said.
“Uh, excuse me, Ms. I’m-Just-Going-To-Walk-Right-On-Through-This-Random-Portal,” said Diana. “But weren’t YOU the one who started this in the first place? Where was your rope?”
She had me there. Honestly, I didn’t have much of an answer for her. Up until this point I had never thought of myself as someone to just go waltzing into a dangerous and bizarre magical doorway, but then again, my experience with that type of situation was a bit limited, to say the least. Doorways aside, I had always been the type of person to go over things a hundred times in my head before actually doing them, constantly playing out every possible way it could go. My mom called me “indecisive”, but it was common sense to be a bit cautious, right? (There’s that Girl Scout training in action again).
Caution, of course, being the last thing on my mind when I apparently decided to take a one-way trip to Neverland. So what had happened back there?
Diana took my silence as a victory. “Anyway, the most important thing to do now is to wait here. We don’t know what’s out there, and I’m not going to risk getting killed and eaten by some creature.
I shook my head. “What’s that going to accomplish? You said it yourself, this place clearly isn’t normal. I don’t think anyone is just going to randomly stop on by and help out.”
“What about our parents?” asked Diana. “They’re probably already looking for us. They’ll go to the attic, see the open door and come find us!”
“And get trapped here just like us!” I said. “Plus, when I first tried to find Harold, it was winter here. That means time isn’t moving like normal.”
“So how long has Harold been here?” asked Patrick. He had just returned, his polo still a bit damp, but relatively vomit free.
I thought for a bit. “Who knows? At a minimum, a month or two if the seasons here are anything like ours. Of course, that doesn’t rule out that it could have been years.
Diana smirked. “Harold without video games for a year? I don’t think he’d survive.”
“Diana, this is serious,” said Patrick. “If Harold has been trapped here by himself for that long, he might not actually survive.”
We sat in silence; none of us wanting to mention that what Patrick said could easily apply to us too.
Well, if no one else is going to…
Just as I was about to get up, Patrick clapped his hands. “Ok, that’s enough of this pity party. We’re not going to get anywhere just sitting around. I say, we see if there is anyone around here who can tell us where we are. Maybe we’ll even find Harold.”
“Fine,” said Diana. “But I don’t want to head too far away in case someone comes looking.”
So, she would argue with me, but blindly followed Patrick? I guessed I couldn’t be too surprised. Either way, I was fine with Patrick taking a “Leader” role, as I certainly didn’t want it. And if he could keep Diana from doing something stupid, all the better.
With no supplies, no food, and no directions, we set off along the path to find something, anything, that could help us get back home.
What could go wrong?